YA SOS: Bureaucracy

The German jungle of bureaucracy can be a rather intimidating mess of paperwork and red tape. Hopefully the tips below will prevent you from getting lost and being eaten by the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.

1. Anmeldebescheinigung
This is effectively registration with the town hall to prove that you live in the area. You will also have to go back and inform them everytime you move. But please be sure to note if you are not living in the town/city centre, to find out where it is you need to go. If where you live belongs to a different Landeskreis, you will need to go to a different town hall (probably in the middle of nowhere) to register. You will then receive a papercopy within a couple of weeks. (They have to wait until the system generates your ID Number, which you need for your tax card)

You should be able to get the majority of the paperwork from the Kreisverwaltungsreferat in your town/city. Please check their website for opening times, as they have recently been changed and now make little sense.

2. Lohnsteuerkarte
You will need this if you are going to be doing a work placement. You will need to tell them to opt out of the church tax (at least, you do in Bavaria). You should not earn enough to be taxed. (German employers aren’t too fond of paying placement students, so be prepared to get a token amount.)

3. Freizügigkeitsbescheinigung
Not to be confused with being freizügig. This particular piece of paperwork is a little confusing, because although it translates roughly as “work permit”, under EU law, any citizen of an EU member state does not require a work permit. However, certain employers (and Bundesländer) require one to be presented for the completion of a work contract (yup, you guessed it – Bavaria is such a Bundesland). When you go to get this particular Bescheinigung, you will need to bring along a letter from your university stating that you are on a compulsory year abroad/work placement.

The three documents mentioned above are required for the completion of work contracts. The contract or a letter confirming your employment will then be required (along with your Anmeldebescheinigung) to open a bank account.

Oh, and don’t ever turn up early to these things. Just be on time. If you turn up early, be entirely prepared to be made to sit and wait until your alloted time. Even if the person you’re seeing has nothing else to do in the mean time.

Don’t try and understand. Just don’t.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s